Personal Family Physicians

Dr. Michael Jennings

Dr. Michael Jennings

It’s no secret  that for a self-employed artist, health insurance can be very hard to come by. That’s why a new family medicine business model is popping up around the SLC. Personal Family Physicians is a front runner in the new model – they see uninsured patients. Only. That’s right, your health insurance is not accepted by Dr. Michael Jennings.

Instead, to be Dr. Jenning’s patient, you pay cash to enroll annually as a patient. Dr. Jennings charges an annual fee that, to my understanding, costs about half the going rate of health insurance, though rates vary. You can pay all at once for the year, or pay less every month. If you have a family, the rates per family member are lower once the first individual enrolls. You then get all the primary care services you need, from Pap smears to stitches, and even some – by appointment – urgent care services, right there in his office on Wasatch Boulevard. For those who need it, Dr. Jennings will make house calls when needed.

If Dr. Jennings can’t do it in his office, for example, MRIs or X-rays, his team will work to find a discounted service for you. They will also help you enroll on discounted prescription drug plans or help you find the lowest price for self-pay medication.

This is an innovative new way of providing health care in an economy where solutions are desperately needed by the self-employed. In the current economy, its not just artists who are self employed, as more businesses start up when the economy is in poor health, as folks like you and me try to eek out a living when jobs are scarce.

Dr. Jenning’s website is, check it out if you are a self-employed artist, or are between health insurance plans.

Medical Illustration

Vesalius Moustache

Vesalius Moustache

Vesalius Torso

It’s a practice that pre-dates the time of Christ, and is one of my main pieces of evidence that, despite what the adults from my youth had to say, creativity is valuable to society. I spent hours and hours in high school and college pouring over this art work. Medical illustration – I’m certain I wouldn’t understand mitosis, meiosis, anaphylaxes or the Krebbs cycle without it. Perhaps its greatest gift to our culture is that it allows us to teach the wonders of human reproduction to children without live models. Considering my background in public health, there isn’t much more interesting to me than an exquisite rendering of a human urethra.

Early manuscripts from the medieval period and in ancient Arab are among the first samples of medical illustration. Many of these examples are now more art than science, having been drafted without direct observation or modern medical technology. In the 1500s, Andreas Vesalius, anatomist, physician and artist published a breakthrough, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (The Fabric of the Human Body), which contained 600 woodcuts based on his observations of human dissection.

Today there are about 2,000 medical illustrators in the U.S. Most have Master’s degrees in medical illustration. Many have Ph.Ds. 3D modeling and animation techniques merge this art with modern technology and make the profession more valuable than ever. Medical illustrators use their imaginations to make sub-cellular processes too small to be seen with the naked eye come to life.

If I had more skill with drawing and computers, I’d love to try my hand at medical illustration. Life science has always been in close competition with art for my attention. It’d be fun to do both at the same time, every day, and maybe gross out some wimps at the same time.